Morning 31 – Job 4-7

Blake Job 9.jpg
9th print from William Blake’s Illustrations of the Book of Job

 

KEY STATEMENT:

“Teach me, and I will hold my tongue; cause me to understand wherein I have erred.” (6:24)

OUTLINE:

  1. Eliphaz’ s Speech (Job 4-5)
    1. Reminds Job of Their Philosophy (4:1-11)
    2. Recounts His Own Vision of God’ s Greatness (4:12-21)
    3. Chastening Comes from God (5:1-7)
    4. Advises Job to Seek God (5:8-16)
    5. God’ s Chastening Benefits the Recipient (5:17-26)
    6. Conclusion (5:27)
  2. Job’ s Speech (Job 6-7)
    1. Finds Eliphaz’ s Words Insipid (6:1-7)
    2. His Only Hope is in Death (6:8-13)
    3. His Friends Brought Affliction Instead of Kindness (6:14-23)
    4. Challenges Them to Show Him His Sin (6:24-30)
    5. His Anguish and Hopelessness (7:1-10)
    6. Asks for an Explanation from God (7:11-21)

 SUMMARY:

 

 

1) Eliphaz.

  • Temanites were noted for wisdom (cf. Genesis 36:9-11; Jeremiah 49:7,20; Obadiah 8-9)
  • is the only one to show sympathy and consideration to Job for his suffering
  • the first to speak and shows a hint of kindness, even though he knows Job won’t like what he has to say (4:1-2)
  • questions if Job himself has forgotten the lessons that he taught others for years (4:3-6)
  • philosophy – God always chastise evildoers and remuneration the righteous (4:7-11)
  • vindicates God and His unexplainable ways by relating his vision which had convinced him of God’s justice and power (4:12-21)
  • states there is no man who Job can turn to (5:1-7), so he should turn to God while he can (5:8-16)
  • He thinks Job will experience great benefit, peace and prosperity from God after all of this is over, and he has been chastened by Him (5:17-26)
  • This describes the position of all three visitors, and neither one sways from it throughout all the discussions (5:27)

2) Job Begins To Turn On God

When Job can find no answers to his questions, he comes up with his own answers… and God does not fare very well in Job’s explanations!

  • 6:4 God has smitten him with deadly arrows.
  • 6:8-10 God should go ahead and finish crushing him completely.
  • 7:16-21 God should leave him alone, quit testing him, and let him catch his breath.
  • complains of his grief and being struck by God (6:1-7)
  • wishes God would fulfill his request for death and take away a hopeless man’s pain (6:8-13)
  • friends have deceived him, becoming tormentors instead of sympathizers (6:14-23)
  • challenges them to expose the sin of which they so confidently accuse him (6:24-30)
  • can find no rest (7:1-2)
  • no comfort (7:3-5)
  • no hope (7:6-10)
  • sees no reason to refrain his mouth from complaining to God (7:11)
  • wonders why he is worth the trouble to God to terrify and test him (7:12-18)
  • How long until God turns away from afflicting him (7:19)?
  • Why has God chosen to mercilessly torment him (7:20-21)?

THOUGHT QUESTIONS:

1) Each of the human characters is disturbed with incomplete and distorted information, yet each comes up with his own wrong explanations.What should this teach us about our own understanding of the world around us (cf. Proverbs 14:12; Jeremiah 10:23)?

3)  What is Eliphaz’ s philosophy on suffering (4:7-9)? What is the implication about Job’ s plight?

4)  What is Eliphaz’ s advice to Job (5:8)? What is Job’ s response to Eliphaz’ s words of hope – why won’ t they work (6:11-13; 7:21b)?

5)  Was everything pretty ‘black and white’ to Eliphaz? Is there any benefit to that attitude when looking at some of the gray areas of life?

6)  How do Job’ s friends speak to him? What do they lack? Suppose they were right all along with their philosophy… what do they still lack? What does this teach us about comforting others who sorrow regardless of the reason they sorrow (6:14-15; 16:2-5)?

7)  Job’ s confusion is understandable. What did he originally believe about suffering (4:3-9)? What does he know now that changes it (6:24-30)? What is his next mistaken belief (7:16-21)?

 CLOSING THOUGHT: 

“According to Eliphaz, Job had grown callous in the midst of riches and allowed unrighteousness to creep into his life. The misfortune befalling him was God’s judgment, a warning to mend his ways (5:17). Job could either turn from his sin and be restored to divine favor or persist in his evil and anticipate the continuing heavy hand of God… Job asked for a bill of particulars. What sins had he committed? Where had he gone wrong (6:24)? It seems as if Eliphaz had dismissed the ambiguity of the situation too easily. His simplistic explanation allows no alternative, no uncertainty, and not even some qualification. Eliphaz allowed no place for ambiguity in his scheme of things.” (Morris Inch, My Servant Job).

blake_job_a11
11th print from William Blake’s Illustrations of the Book of Job. Plate 11, showing the marginal glosses. The line directly above the centre image reads: Satan himself is transformed into an Angel of Light & his Ministers into Ministers of Righteousness

 

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